Genetic Mirroring


Potamus with pigtails?

I am pre-occupied with looks, specifically the looks of my child in relation to my own and my husband’s. When Potamus was born, everyone was shocked by his blonde hair and blue eyes. At almost two his eyes have turned hazel, but he’s still blonde as the day he was born. But most people think that he looks like Boof, which is hard for me…and I think it all goes back to being adopted, and being raised in a family where my looks weren’t reflected back and nobody said “oh, she looks like great aunt millie.”

I think my son actually looks quite a bit like me. His personality is quite a bit like my own, with his little mischievous side, but his sweetness is reminiscent of stories I’ve heard about Boof as a child. Every once in awhile Potamus will give a look, make an expression, that makes me think of his dad, but for the most part, when I look at my sweet child I see myself as a baby looking back. So why am I so surprised or frustrated when people don’t notice the way he resembles me?


  1. When I was about 14 my family (Dad, stepmother, and me) moved to a new place. My dad is a preacher and some of the folks from his new congregation came to help us unload the UHaul. After the unloading wound down, a couple of ladies sat down to chat with my stepmother and I and proceeded to make a big production about how much I looked like her. She and my mother aren’t even the same race. My stepmother was too embarrassed to correct them. In hindsight, it’s pretty clear to me that they were just trying to make friendly conversation and I think that that’s really the impetus behind a lot of those types of statements. That said, this picture of you does look very much like pictures you’ve posted of your son (only with pigtails)!

    • Thanks for sharing your experience!

      I do think it’s an interesting social conversation topic…does it go back to our ancient history of really needing to be able to identify visually those from our tribe and those “others” who might be our enemies?

      I’ve heard people tell my international adoptee friends that they look like their parents…which of course is ridiculous 🙂

  2. Another bewildering variant: my mom thinks my boyfriend and I look pretty alike (it’s all coloring) and mentions it all the time. Worse, a friend’s dad was convinced we were brother and sister, even after we insisted we really aren’t related and are in fact dating. We even have 23 and Me results that prove there’s no overlapping ancestry!

    From the picture you’ve posted, there are definitely similarities between you and Potamus. It’ll change, too, as he gets older. Most children end up as a mix of both parents, in both looks and mannerisms, but are also kind of unique in their own way. Just wait and see!

    • You know what’s funny? When I was first dating my husband someone thought I was his sister. Whoa! We’re not related at all, but still, it took me by surprise because I don’t think we look alike (though I do think I sorta look like one of his sisters. ha!)

      I’m excited to see how Potamus grows up and who and how he resembles (or doesn’t). I was sad when his baby blue eyes recently turned hazel, but his mannerisms are just so darn funny that I love seeing how our family is reflected in him!

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